Jahr 1995




Summer 1995


 Nine Inch Nails -

Nine Inch's Down Under


  Words: Murray Engleheart




The scene: Western Sydney‘s massive Eastern Creek Raceway. The weather: Woodstock-esque. The crowd around 30,000. Trent Reznor is sitting about a kilometer from the stage site, his jeans inscribed with a rough pen-drawn heart. Two lines are crossed diagonally through the drawing, making any rite of passage into the organ virtually impossible. The glint of well-tested metal is clearly visible through the ravaged leather of his steel capped boots. Reznor looks every inch the world’s-most-forgotten-boy that Iggy Pop once claimed to be, yet with deeper, more open wounds. Today’s rain, Reznor comments, has “changed a pleasant concert going experience into a survival endurance test.”

He smiles and quietly laughs.

“We had our rainy concert this tour…”

Five hours later, as a lingering natural & man-made fog shrouds the dampened stage Reznor‘s nine inch nails will issue forth their unique brand of raging sonic violence, including some incredibly savage… er… “choreography.” It’s closer to an act of aural projectile hurling than rock & roll as it s recognized. Surely this guy must freak himself out sometimes.

“I‘ve done that more sitting in the studio,“ says Reznor, “thinking of stuff and coming up with ideas wondering if I should even say that. Almost being afraid to explore certain parts of what I’m thinking about. ‘Do I really want to go down that path? Do I really want to be the spokesman of saying…’ It’s not like a conversation with you. It’s a conversation with X amount of millions of people that might relate to it. Is it responsible to do that? I‘ve been more freaked out by that than live, where there’s times that things will dick and things work, but I can’t say there’s any time when I’ve really… Unless we’ve been in such an altered state of consciousness. Which does occur occasionally....“

As explored in the January issue of huH, Reznor is still a little perplexed when he stands on stage and gazes out into the crowd. He’s constantly having to come to grips with his growing success and what he and his band of scary men have become.

“I think at its most surface it’s another entity that puts out product and hopes to continue to do that. But I like to use the platform as something to get some subversive messages out there. I had a problem coming to terms with the fact that we started to sell more records. I understood the audience up to about 100,000— and then we did Lollapalooza first year and got real big, then a gold record and this record’s almost two million now in America. You start to look out and you don t recognize those faces. I’m not sure who they are. It’s mole culture. It’s younger people and it‘s more out of touch people, I think. At first it was kind of difficult, because the first thing that happens is that the people you had catered to and were part of a scene start to turn their backs on you because you’ve infiltrated a more mass arena...“

But surely infiltration is the beautiful part.

“Yeah, but it can also be a painful thing when your favorite magazine that liked you and you bought as a fan… now you’re not so cool because their little sister likes you. Even though I think the integrity of the music that nine inch nails has put out has stayed… or improved hopefully.”

Back to that first Lollapalooza. Is your relationship with Henry Rollins any better than it was then?

“It was just… I think at the time we irritated him because there was a buzz about nine inch nails and we were the guys with no credibility. We were the young guys on the tour. I think he felt he hat the weight of all ‘punk rock‘ on his back and he deserved his moment. I‘ve come to actually enjoy his music and I think a lot of what he does is pretty good. He irritated me on a personal level, but…

You did a show with Guns N‘ Roses at Wembley Stadium in London several years back at Axl Rose‘s instigation. Do you get any feedback from Axl these days?

“I heard from him right before we started this tour. That was kind of when… the downfall of Guns N Roses was just reaching the bottom. He was just kind of freaked out and talking about maybe working on some kind of project. I said, ‘Let me know.‘ I’m into at least listening to ideas. I haven‘t had any (other) contact.”

He‘s got an interesting mind. I think there‘s a lot more going on there than people give him credit for.

“With Axl? Yeah. I feel a certain degree of compassion just because he was thrust into something that was larger than anything else — and then a lot of weight was placed on him to carry the torch. If I had to pick something that I think was wrong with how they were treated, it was that no-one had the balls to say, ‘No. No it’s not a good idea to put out two double albums of mediocre material.‘ But if you said that you got fired so... I think that‘s inherently the problem. I think the guy’s talented at what he’s doing.”

So how do you see your next album? A departure from the Spiral stuff?

“I’m not far enough into it to have anything concrete to say about it...but I’d like to work on a record that‘s more songoriented, more collaborative. That‘s more interesting to me right now than climbing down into another hole for two years — by myself. It may end up being that but…”

Murray Engleheart